January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, do you know the information to help keep you safe? What about for our friends and family? Do we have the right information about Human Trafficking? Human Trafficking Awareness Month seeks to put the spotlight on an epidemic that is no respecter of gender, age, socioeconomic status, race, and so on. What do we need to know?
Human Traffickers don’t care how old you are, if they are able to take advantage of you, they will.
Oftentimes, we think we know everything we need to know to help keep us safe, but as we, a group of parents in a ministry setting, sat down to take a class with Detective Heidi Chance, who is a 25-year Veteran Detective with 13 years in the area of Human Trafficking dedicated to help bring about Human Trafficking Awareness, there was a lot of misinformation I had and knowledge I lacked in this area that I felt was necessary in keeping myself and others around me safe.
Heidi Chance, is a retired law enforcement professional who served 25 years. She is a leader and consultant who equips other law enforcement and other organizations with the tools and awareness to fight for a chance for change in the realm of sex trafficking. Heidi spent over 13 years working as an undercover detective investigating buyers and traffickers and rescuing countless adult and juvenile victims of sex trafficking.
She has testified as an expert witness in court proceedings and is a subject matter expert in the area of sex trafficking. Her specialized sex trafficking training has educated professionals within community groups, child safety departments, probation, jail and corrections staff, other local law enforcement agencies, medical staff, school personnel and officers attending the Phoenix Police Academy. She has also developed an 8 hour advanced detective training course that is featured online for the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board on the subject of human trafficking.
She is a highly sought-after powerhouse speaker, consultant, and nationally recognized trainer. Since 2014, she often travels across the United States teaching other law enforcement agencies for the National Justice Training Center (NCJTC) of Fox Valley Technical College, Amber Alert program. She is also featured in the Frontline PBS documentary “Sex Trafficking in America”.
Heidi is passionate about the POWER OF AWARENESS and making a CHANCE for change for sex trafficking victims and the community understands the growing sex trafficking problem in our communities. Through her work she has witnessed the POWER OF AWARENESS working in the investigations and trials she has experienced. She is the creator and founder of ChanceConsultingLeo.com and has a community Blog posted at achanceforawareness.com, you can also find her on IG: @a_chance_for_awareness
Here is the information on how to take the Human Trafficking Awareness class she has created along with the breakdown of what will be taught:
Please note: Detective Heidi Chance did provide a free abbreviated class training for me and a few other parents to take part in, although this is not only for parents. Also, take note if Det. Heidi Chance mentions any triggering material that may be presented in one of the modules which may need parental supervision. I receive no commission in promoting this class, but Det. Heidi Chance has provided a discount code for our followers, “AWARENESSMONTH” for her class, “Sex Trafficking: The Power of Awareness.” If you think you are too young to take this class, talk with your parents, caregivers, or Christian leader(s), and discuss it with them. They may be interested in taking it maybe even alongside with you.
Human Trafficking Awareness Class Breakdown:
Module 1. Defining the problem
This module will discuss the definition of Human Trafficking and how it differs from Human Smuggling.
Module 2. Evolution of the problem and law enforcement response. Detective Chance will discuss the change in perspective law enforcement went through as they responded to the sex trafficking problem.
Module 3. Victims’ vulnerabilities will be discussed in this module on how traffickers use coercion & control to manipulate victims—the role of the internet and its contribution to the sex trafficking problem. A discussion about minors involved in sex trafficking is included.
Module 4. Discusses sex buyers and their contribution to the demand for the sex trafficking problem. Some of the consequences buyers face will also be addressed.
Module 5. Traffickers- What is grooming? What are recruitment tactics traffickers use to find and keep victims, and what are the dynamics of a traffickers business?
Module 6. Recognizing possible trafficking and how to report it.
Final Module: The conclusion of the course will include information about what YOU can do to help with the fight against sex trafficking.
How do you as a young person help protect yourself against Human Trafficking?
With the Internet and all the doorways that have been opened through the Internet for malicious intent and activity, we must safeguard ourselves and actually know what these safeguards are. Let’s take this time during Human Trafficking Awareness Month to learn.
These tips you may know or may surprise you and offer another perspective. Remember, SHARE! You never know who this may help.
7 Human Trafficking Awareness Tips
The added notes and scriptures are mine and in relation to the Human Trafficking Awareness tips given by Det. Heidi, they will be listed underneath her tip(s) and will be speaking from my personal experience in working with Youth and in the Youth Ministry realm. If these become too overwhelming, bookmark this page, and come back to it as often as you need to. This way you can reflect, go through, and check off anything you may need to know. Remember to share with friends, younger siblings, and those around us, in order to do our part during Human Trafficking Awareness Month to help put the information out there. Again, you never know who it can help:
1.Develop in person friendships and be suspicious of friends that have “friends” that they haven’t met in person yet.
Note: On the Internet, it’s easy to become whoever you want to be and that works well for Human Traffickers. They may not show up as someone creepy but as someone who is everything you may need at the moment, friend, crush, or even a mentor. Test people, ask questions, don’t take everything at face value, keep Godly, safe, and healthy authority figures in your life up to date with who you are hanging out with. People may see things, we may not see or may not want to see. What people do, can affect us in both positive and negative ways. They may bring us down paths we never thought we would go down.
2.If you have concerns about one of your friends, say something to an adult. Especially if your friend is displaying any of the sex trafficking indicators (has unexplained cash, 2nd phone, older boyfriend, new tattoo, secretive about the person and what they do for a living, talks about someone encouraging them to leave home.)
Note: We are called to keep watch over one another. Unfortunately, many of our friends can be misled and we live in a society where people tell you to mind your business. Sometimes we need to help people, even if they don’t want to help themselves. If you feel like they are being catfished by anyone, involved in friendships or relationships that are changing them in negative ways, even if they don’t like it you may want to tell someone who is Godly, safe, and healthy. Hopefully it doesn’t happen, but it’s better to lose them as a friend rather than hear that they lost their life.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Eccl. 4:9-10)
3.Don’t trust anyone you meet online.
It’s become more and more common to meet possible love interests from online. We want to believe these people are true, the relationships are true, and there is no ill will coming our way. However, there is no way to be absolutely sure. We’ve heard the stories of people getting held hostage and raped for many days, murdered, or becoming Human Trafficked. Also, these meetings may not even be for a love interest but maybe for a job opportunity like modeling. I heard a young woman’s testimony who was sex trafficked because she answered an online ad for modeling and they seemed to be legit but she ended up in the hands of sex traffickers and suffered at their hands.
4.Be suspicious of someone who offers to pick you up or take you home, they might be trying to find out where you live.
Information is currency in the kingdom of darkness. Not everyone wants the best for you. Knowing where you live, puts not only yourself in danger but also people in your home including pets. It’s best to have trusted individuals who have been tested by both yourself and your parents or caregivers to give you rides both to and from your house. Also, please know when you’re in someone’s vehicle, you are susceptible to whatever and wherever they want to bring you. You can end up anywhere in a short amount of time including other states and counties where no one knows you. Stay connected with trusted, Godly, and healthy adults. This way if for some reason, you may have backtracked and were in a place of rebellion or disobedience, you have people you can run to and ask for help. Please know, even if you think your parents may be upset, they will feel far worse if something happens to you. Accept you may get in trouble but at least you will still have your life. False prophets come in many forms, and they may be the one trying to give you a ride home while also trying to take advantage in any way possible.
5.Don’t accept expensive gifts from strangers, they will be expecting something from you in return.
Strangers will use gifts as a form of manipulation to get sexual favors of all kinds. It’s a form of grooming and by accepting these expensive gifts it may lead you to think you owe them something. Keep in mind, it might not start off as a big ask. For example, be careful when they ask for pictures of arms, legs, feet, seemingly “innocent” body parts. They can start off by asking for what looks like innocent photos of body parts and then will extend those requests to more private areas which then can lead to asking for other sexual favors. Don’t accept them and if you did by accident or even if you may have known some expectation was attached to it, remember you don’t owe them anything and have all the right to change your mind. Ask a parent or police for help to either return the gift, get rid of it, or communicate back to the person your declination of any sexual favors back. It’s better to be embarrassed for a moment rather than traumatized for a long time.
6.Be suspicious of someone encouraging you to leave your home or runaway.
Many times people want you leave your situation and bring you into an even worse situation. If you are in an unsafe situation, keep bringing it before the correct authorities. You can try all kinds of authority like teachers, Pastors, librarians, Sunday school teachers from the past, police, any known trusted individuals, until someone listens. Ask the Lord to help you, show you who you can trust, to bring Godly people into your situation, to repel ungodly people, but don’t just trust anyone because of the situation you are in. You could be walking into an even worse situation. If someone is encouraging you to runaway, then they are most likely not looking to your benefit, but their own. Someone who actually wants to help, will bring in the proper authorities and provide resources rather than steal you away somewhere. Pray, pray, and pray some more because there is no recipe for abusive situations. The Lord knows your situation, continue to seek Him, and pray for miracles over your life.
7.Don’t trade sexual favors for money or something of value.
Keep your body holy. Your body is not meant to be sold. Even if you have been the victim of sexual abuse or maybe you have given your body away to people who were not your spouse, this does not mean you need to go on sinning because you may believe you are no longer worth anything. Doing sexual favors for items like money, clothes, cars, jewelry, jobs, no matter how big or small the cost, is not the design the Lord had for sex. It goes against His will for your life. He didn’t die for you to be a modern day prostitute. I know because I fell into this trap. I was only in sexual relationships for a time to get things. It wasn’t until the Lord showed me that I was acting like a modern day prostitute. It may sound harsh but unfortunately it was the truth. Ask the Lord to provide for all your needs, keep praying, and ask for wisdom on who to receive the blessings from.
I pray these tips will not only help bring Human Trafficking Awareness and but also hopefully help keep you and others safe. Again, I can’t say enough, I’m so thankful for Human Trafficking Awareness Month where there is a focus on this epidemic and for people like Detective Heidi Chance who have dedicated their time and energy working in the area of bringing Human Trafficking Awareness to people including teenagers, their parents, and caregivers who may not have an opportunity to learn about it.
Baskets of Blessings,
Jesus, family, ministry, and lots of coffee! My heart comes from being a young teen girl who didn’t know much and found Jesus in a dark time. My ministry focuses on the heart of God for this generation to make Godly decisions especially in the area of purity. A blog for all ages because God’s Word is eternal and has no age limit!